We dare you: Phuket’s 40 meter jungle free fall
It’s not a holiday in Thailand without a little adrenaline rush. Yes, trying new, weird seafood can be pretty scary, but that’s not what we’re talking about.
Adventure on the islands means getting in the air and getting some height (or some depth in the water) and conquering your fears – all in good fun of course. On the beach there’s parasailing, rock climbing and diving. In the jungle, there’s ziplining.
Ziplining is fast becoming a stop on every adventure-addict’s island tour. In Phuket, there are a few ziplining courses to choose from. We chose Flying Hanuman because of the sheer size of its course (80,000 square meters) and the breathtaking views of the valleys and hills of the dense Phuket jungle.
If the thought of flying through the air, saved from certain death only by a single wire, makes your stomach turn, relax. It’s more thrilling than nauseating.
Enter Flying Hanuman via a windy, uphill drive through the jungles of the Kathu region. Once you’re there, the experienced guides are ready to harness you up and placate any remaining fears you might have. They zipline like it’s second nature, and safety is always their priority.
You’ll feel better when you see people coming down from the course, all smiles, having beers and reliving their experience on their GoPros and iPhones.
The course consists of a series of wooden platforms built around trees. The hike up to the first course is about 15 minutes. It’s a steep, almost vertical hike, up rocky steps carved into the side of the hill. It’s a pretty intense workout, especially if you’ve been hitting the beach bars all night. But you have to go up to come down, right? The higher the better – that means more zipline to descend.
The guides are all experienced and highly professional, so don’t mind their teasing. If you ask for a slow ride or show fear, good luck. You’re basically challenging them to find you the steepest, scariest course. But you’ll thank them after you’ve overcome that life long fear of heights.
On the busiest days there will be a group before you and after you, but with so much jungle to cover, you’ll be able to descend each zipline in good time. All you’ll hear are distant screams in the jungle to remind you you’re not alone out here.
You’ll soon realize that everyone who descends the longest zip line will be screaming their head off anyway. This zipline feels like hundreds of meters, especially when you’re strapped to the harness Superman-style, with arms and legs dangling over the treetops. Look down and see the jungle flashing before you. This is as close to a bird’s eye view as you’ll ever come.
Once you’ve gained confidence ziplining through trees and jungle in a sitting pose, Superman stance, backwards and upside down, you’re ready for the free fall.
The free fall is a 40 meter descent, abseiling down an ancient tree. That’s equal to sailing down a 12 story building. It’s a unique experience, to have your stomach hit your throat as you feel like you’re actually going to die. But the thrill (and the inevitable scream) is worth it. Your guide will ensure you have a smooth landing, hovering just above the soft cushion. (We assume it’s there just in case.)
Even if you don’t have a fear of heights, this zipline course will bring it out of you. And let you conquer it with a thrilling experience. And there’s no better feeling than finishing the course and resting your Jello-like legs with a round of beers on firm ground.
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